Kaizer Chiefs suffered their third successive defeat as AmaZulu won 2-1 and walked away with all three points from FNB Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
It was not a great start for Chiefs as Happy Mashiane was forced off inside 15 minutes with a thigh injury and replaced by 2016/17 PSL Footballer of the Season Lebogang Manyama.
AmaZulu carved out the first real chance of the match as Luvuyo Memela's volley from inside the box was comfortably dealt with by Itumeleng Khune, who was well positioned to catch the goal-bound effort.
Chiefs had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 28th minute from a Frosler corner but the ball was cleared from danger before Manyama's follow-up shot was off target.
Augustine Mulenga rattled the woodwork just after the half-hour mark with a thunderous strike from range that beat Khune but couldn't creep in underneath the crossbar.
Darrel Matsheke saw the first of his two bookings on the day when he left his studs in a challenge on Mulenga a few minutes later.
Chiefs were punished by – that man again – Mulenga on the stroke of half-time as the hosts' defence were split apart like a hot knife through butter, with Khune left stranded after an initial shot that had to be cleared off the line by Erick Mathoho.
Chiefs eventually registered their first effort on target in the 61st minute as Samir Nurkovic got on the end of a Reeve Frosler cross but the Serbian's header was stopped by Veli Mothwa at his near-post.
Nurkovic earned a penalty five minutes later after being held back by Tapelo Xoki as he tried to get beyond two AmaZulu defenders inside the box, with substitute Leonardo Castro stepping up to slot home the leveller from 12 yards out.
Usuthu were again denied by the crossbar in the 71st minute when Siphelele Magubane worked himself into space to unleash a curling effort that rattled the frame of the goal.
Matsheke received his marching orders with 15 minutes left on the clock after picking up a second yellow card for a foul.
AmaZulu capitalised on the one-man advantage as Lehlohonolo Majoro capitalised on a blunder from Khune, whose effort to clear a cross fell for the ex-Chiefs man to flick the ball into the back of the net.
Gavin Hunt has handed a return to goalkeeper and club captain Itumeleng Khune as he named his line-up to face AmaZulu this afternoon, though Ramahlwe Mphahlele will don the armband.
Khune has been absent from the matchday squad since December last year but has finally worked his way back into the line-up after missing their last 10 matches in all competitions.
The 33-year-old shotstopper has figures of 11 goals conceded in eight matches played domestically this season, with two clean sheets in two CAF Champions League outings.
Meanwhile, former Amakhosi skipper Siphiwe Tshabalala could make his first appearance against his former club since 2006, should he make it off Usuthu's bench this afternoon.
Kick-off is set for 15h00.
Chiefs XI: Khune, Ngezana, Cardoso (Blom 46'), Mathoho, Mphahlele ©️, Zulu, Matsheke, Mashiane (Manyama 16') [Castro 62'], Ngcobo (Katsande 78'), Frosler, Nurkovic
Subs: Akpeyi, Sasman, Radebe, Parker, Kambole
AmaZulu XI: Mothwa, Gumede ©️, Mabiliso, Mgwazela (Mzava 59'), Xoki, Makhaula, Kewuti (Majoro 76'), Magubane (Maduna 83'), Mthembu (Ntuli 83'), Memela (Mlambo 60'), Mulenga
Subs: Mbatha, Masilela, Sikhakhane, Tshabalala